First, let us start the morning with a moment of silence in remembrance of the merger that never was between Microsoft and Yahoo. Microhoo, we hardly knew ye. Now onto the Monday morning picks, wherein I scan the headlines so you don't have to:
From Advertising Age:
—Ad Age's annual agency report. Here's a link to the index. Click away.
—Led by digital, agency revenue grows by 8.6 percent.
—Microsoft starts to like the idea of big government.
—Matt Creamer and Rupal Parekh give two thumbs up to the new 4As Leadership Conference.
—George Parker on the sorry state of the conference business (except for those who charge the fees). He actually does this without saying "fuck" once.
—Unilever, P&G discover it's not easy being green.
—Burger King credits marketing for increase in same-store sales.
—Will Google help improve TV advertising creative?
—Obligatory Miley Cyrus story.
—Social Media 101.
—How to find out if your consumer is using social media.
—Turns out prominent marketing prof James Twitchell has plagiarized.
—Bob Garfield gives a star and a half to a bloviated Sony commercial. I watched it, and somehow I'm not quite as outraged, though it has a certain Bravia bunny quality to it.
—The digital agency report cards. Below are the grades. Click here if you'd actually prefer your grades to be delivered with insights.
AVENUE A/RAZORFISH: B
MRM WORLDWIDE: C
OGILVY INTERACTIVE: B
TRIBAL DDB: B+
—Interesting story about a fake blog (or flog if you're really into groovy new digital words). Read this before you plan your next fake campaign.
—People already getting all hot and bothered about a piece of research that MTV will unveil on Thursday. Really.
—One of a zillion Microsoft/Yahoo stories.
—Interview with EVB ecd Jason Zada.
—The settlement completed, Interpublic Group can finally get on with its life.
—The rise of the agency digital innovation lab.
—EVB CEO Dan Stein on the five things that good interactive campaigns have in common.
—Critical Mass creative David Armano asks interactive agencies to please make themselves useful."
—Barbara Lippert likes that Haagen-Dazs honey bee ad that I'm not so hot on. The upcoming plantable print ad in Newsweek sounds interesting though.
—Q&A with McDonald's CMO Mary Dillon.
—Slurpee, Aerosmith, Guitar Hero together at last.
—A reality TV approach to marketing 24 Hour Fitness.
—Is addressable advertising about to find a home?
—Jamba Juice protects its smoothie business.
—Another Microsoft/Yahoo story.
—Microsoft's Joe Doran joins Media6Degrees as CEO.
—Wikipedia wants to be legally immune from users' posts.
—Amazon thinks New York's Internet tax is unconstitutional. Sounds right to me.
—What? WPP Group tried to buy TNS? Nielsen said to be bidding even more.
—Washington Post Co. has 39 percent drop in first quarter profit.
—ANA wants the networks to drop integration fees. Not sure what they are.
From The New York Post:
—So you just decided marriage wasn't in the cards. What's a Microsoft exec to do with $46 billion now?
—How will Whole Foods handle a recession?
From The New York Times:
—Multi-faceted Microsoft/Yahoo package:
—Yahoo shares down 20 percent so far today.
—What can Microsoft do to catch up with Google now?
—What Yahoo shareholders might have been willing to accept.
—Google as the Microsoft/Yahoo spoiler.
—What is the value of a merger that never happened?
—How IDG has made the transition to digital.
—A new look at how to market a rock band, or the Panic at the Disco case study.
—Steve Jobs wants your family room.
From The Wall Street Journal:
—The WSJ's Microsoft/Yahoo package.
—The main story. Free.
—Microsoft's statement about the deal's collapse. Subscription required.
—Yahoo's statement. Subscription required.
—Some digital execs wanted a Microsoft/Yahoo deal. Subscription required.
—Vote on whether Microsoft and Yahoo will kiss, make up, and eventually get married. Free.
—Kara Swisher on Google as Yahoo's new BFF. Free.
—Translating Ballmer-speak. Thankfully this one is free. Here's one of the "translated paragraphs from Ballmer's letter to Yang, concerning Google: "There, I said it. The Big G. It should scare the wits out of all of us. Remember, Jerry, the Big G will come and get you, too, one day. Beware The Big G, Jerry!"
—Everyone but me went to see Iron Man. Subscription required.
—Recession-fearing Web start-ups pump up the volume on newfangled social media ads. Free.
I know that was an absolutely exhaustive—and exhausting—set of links, so thanks for reading all the way to the end, if you did. Well, it's not every day that Steve Ballmer doesn't get his way.